Electrostatic effects on pressure drop in tube flows

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Electrohydrodynamic effects on forced convection in tubes may have significant implications for enhancement of heat exchanger performance in heat pumps and other devices. Of particular concern in such applications is the possibility of increased pressure drop associated with electrostatic discharge. Large frictional losses could substantially increase the required pumping power, offsetting performance gains associated with improved heat transfer rates. This articles describes a series of experiments designed to determine the effects of corona discharge on pressure fields for air flow in cylindrical tubes. Experiments were performed with a single concentric electrode in the tube and with two nonconcentric electrodes. Measurements were performed at potentials from the onset of measurable current to near the spark-over point and at Reynolds numbers from 103 to 2 × 104. Friction factors were seen to increase as much as 250 percent over the values obtained in the absence of an applied electric field. Results suggest that the electrostatic effect on pressure drop is very sensitive to current density, Reynolds number, and electrode configuration. © 1990.

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International Journal of Heat and Fluid Flow